Earlier this month at the Consumer Electronics Show, a slew of televisions were shown off by the top TV vendors in the business. Many of the sets featured 3D and came with the ability to run applications. They all featured nice designs and in most cases, had a price tag that most consumers could live with if they want to go out and get a new television.
But with each new television showed off at the show, I became more and more convinced that the industry wants nothing more than for us to buy new sets every few years. And companies use such advances as 3D to coax us into doing just that.
Now, companies trying to appeal to consumers with new features in products they probably don’t need is nothing new. It happens across all industries, and as Apple proved with the iPod and iPhone, it can pay off in a big way if it’s done properly.
But buying an iPhone every year isn’t nearly as expensive as investing in an HDTV. Depending on the quality of the set consumers are after, they can spend anywhere between a few hundred dollars to thousands. And if they do it every few years like vendors seem to prefer, such buying decisions could be a cash cow for the industry and outlandishly expensive for the average person.
We should remember that it wasn’t long ago that televisions were our trusted companions in the living room. They typically sat in the same spot for 10 to 20 years. And although some updates were made to those old tubes over the years, the differences weren’t so great that we felt compelled to get new sets every few years.
Nowadays, it’s different. The 1080p plasma I bought nearly five years ago is now obsolete. It doesn’t have LED backlighting; it has only 2 HDMI ports; it lacks 3D; and it’s bulky compared to the new sets on the market today.
The picture quality on my TV is still quite good, especially since I calibrated it, but sports games and movies look downright ugly, compared to the same programming on a top-of-the-line LED-backlit set.
Simply put, it’s becoming clearer by the day that my HDTV is being left behind, and the industry is making me believe that I have no choice but to update it sooner than I would like.
But I’ve decided against that. I’m sticking with my HDTV. Sure, it might not deliver the same picture quality as the latest sets, but I’m unwilling to pay another $1,000 to $2,000 to find something better. And I’m especially against doing it every few years.
The television market is moving quickly. And there’s no slowing it down. But that doesn’t mean that we have to keep pace.
Now, who’s with me?